Home / Government Institutions / Record of Press briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson held on 3rd July 2014

Record of Press briefing by Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson held on 3rd July 2014

Islamabad, July 03, 2014 (PPI-OT):

Opening Remarks

At the last briefing, there was a question about Australia offering money to Pakistanis to return or that they were being forced to return. Our Mission contacted the Australian authorities and they have been informed that Australian Government, in collaboration with IOM, is helping the asylum seekers who wish to return to their countries origin.

This includes Pakistanis. However, the IOM has approached our Mission for only one passport. They have further informed that it has been the standard practice for more than a decade for settlement packages to be offered to those who voluntarily return home. However, we have been told that there is no fixed amount. It varies from person to person.

Now the floor is open for Questions

Question

Issues of Pakistanis seeking asylum in Sri Lanka has now created problems for on arrival visas for Pakistanis. Any concerns being conveyed to Sri Lanka. How does Pakistan see the emerging situation in Iraq and Syria especially after declaration of Khilafat by ISIS?

Answer

We gave our views on the situation in Iraq last week. I would reiterate that position. Indeed, we are deeply concerned about the escalating violence and the recent developments. We wish to see peace and stability.

We explained the Sri Lankan visa related developments at great length at the last briefing. We are in contact with the Sri Lankan government and I don’t really have anything else to add to what I said last week.

Question

Afghanistan levels allegations against Pakistan. A delegation is coming to Pakistan to discuss the ongoing operation. Have they been or will they be asked to provide the evidence and these allegations ….inaudible?

Answer

Yes, an Afghan military delegation is visiting. The issues related to border management will be discussed. As we point out repeatedly in our measured response to statements that emanate from some Afghan officials, these are baseless allegations. We have never been provided any evidence on which these allegations could be justified.

Question

My question is about the list of prisoners that India and Pakistan exchanged. Unfortunately there are many Pakistanis in India who have completed their sentence and they are not being released. This is a purely humanitarian issue and new Indian government is showing good gestures towards Pakistan. So do you expect that the Indian government could release such civilian Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentence?

Answer

Legally, no one can be punished twice for the same crime. Unfortunately, some of our nationals who have completed their primary sentence in India still remain in jails. Sometimes because the processes are not completed by the Indian authorities or subsequently new charges are brought against them and the jail sentence starts anew.

Keeping in view the humanitarian aspect of this matter, the two countries established Judicial Commission. The members of the Commission from the two countries visit each others’ jails- I think twice a year. They meet the prisoners and ascertain their condition.

Some Pakistani prisoners were released at the intervention of the superior courts in India. As per our bilateral agreement, we also exchange lists of prisoners. We have already shared with you the number of Indian prisoners through a press release.

Subsequently, we received the list that was given to our High Commission in Delhi by the Indian authorities. According to the list provided by India, the number of Pakistani civil prisoners in Indian jails is 264 and fishermen are 116. Recently, the Indian authorities intimated that they are releasing 9 Pakistani prisoners. I don’t know if this figure includes them.

Question

Given the Iraqi situation, reportedly many countries of the world including India are providing technical assistance to their nationals there. What about Pakistan providing such assistance because there are three types of people. i. Pakistani pilgrims, ii. People, working there on work permit, and iii People working in Pakistani Embassy.

Answer

Our Embassy in Baghdad is functional. Our Ambassador is regularly is assessing the situation and if at any stage he feels that the Embassy personnel are not safe or need to be moved, that would be done. As regards other categories of Pakistanis, there was a large concentration in Tikrit. They were working with Turkish construction companies but were evacuated before the deterioration of the situation.

Similarly, in other places also, our nationals have moved to safer locations. Our Embassy is in touch with them. They have been cautioned that if they feel the situation is getting worse they should immediately leave. Our Embassy would provide whatever assistance they need. Sometimes, the companies for which they worked, they also make arrangements.

Question

If there is a discrepancy between the numbers of Pakistani prisoners shown by India and calculated by our authorities. What is the exact number, how is this figure determined and where are?

As for my second question, the Indian Prime Minister Nerandra Modi is undertaking visit to J and K probably tomorrow and the APHC and even the State government have called for strike. They are not accepting the India Prime Minister’s visit. BJP has also made its intentions clear about Article-370. In this perspective how Pakistan views his visit?

My last question is: there are again Indian violations across LoC. On the one hand they make positive overtures for peace but then in disregard for what was agreed in 2008 cross-LoC violations continue all along. What are your comments?

Answer

The latest first, we received reports that tonight around 10:30 PM, Indian forces resorted to unprovoked firing in the Kotli sector which resulted in injuries to one soldier. I think subsequently, the local commanders took up the issue with the India side.

Yes you are right it keeps happening at regular intervals. As regard article 370, I think this question was asked earlier also, we do not accept the so- called accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India. Kashmir is not an integral part of India.

Our position is that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory. People of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have yet to exercise their right to self determination which has been assured to them by almost 20 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. So, we don’t accept the accession claimed by India and we don’t accept Kashmir as integral part of India.

As far as why there is discrepancy in the number of prisoners, our High Commission compiles a list of Pakistani prisoners which is based on the basis of reports of cases registered or families reporting about missing family members while on visit to India. The number according to our calculations is close to 500.

Question

Please refer to recent report that says that last week in the annual meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, US and Britain supported India’s bid to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group despite being a non-signatory to NPT. How do you react to this?

Answer

Pakistan itself is not a signatory to the NPT. Pakistan and India are nuclear weapon states and that’s a reality whether NPT accepts it or not. We have consistently called for non discriminatory access to nuclear technology to Pakistan as well. Any effort or step that creates exceptions or which is based on double standards undermines the credibility of International Nuclear regime.

Question

Yesterday, National Assembly passed the Pakistan protection act, it has a clause which allows action against the Pakistanis who are living in other countries and are involved in war against Pakistan. Whether any of such people, who are waging war against Pakistan from abroad, have been identified and intimated to the Foreign Office?

Answer

Obviously, the Ministry of Interior would have the comprehensive list and they can give you the background and details. One such name that has been in the news in the last few days is Mullah Fazullah.

Question

According to the reports US has authorized NSA to spy on 193 countries and Pakistan was also on this list. Now revelations have come forward which say that a major political party was also being spied upon. That party has called upon the Government of Pakistan to take up the matter because it is terming this as a violation of International Law. Your comments please

Answer

It is, no doubt, a violation of International Law and we have raised it with the US in the past and we will continue to discuss this issue. I can confirm to you that this issue is being raised with the US.

Question

There are also some news reports that US embassy in Pakistan has been spying on some political party during elections. Do you have such reports?

Answer

I don’t have any confirmed report of this nature and we don’t comment on speculations.

Question

The Government of India has protested on this issue by calling a senior diplomat of US embassy and we haven’t raised this issue.

Answer

I have already said that we are working on it.

Question

How many countries have offered support to Pakistan for its operation in North Waziristan and to help with the IDPs as well?

Answer

We have not sought help for displaced people. They are our nationals and we are looking after them.

Question

There was report that target killings in Baluchistan especially of Hazara community continues. Do you think these reports are true? If yes then what measures Government is taking to stop such target killings.

Answer

This question may be addressed to the Ministry of Interior.

Question

Before operation, the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan were considering an agreement to seal the Durand Line prior to the operation but it didn’t happen and the border was closed on certain points. I want to know what is the progress on this issue?

Answer

I’m not aware of any agreement on a line that does not exist. There is an international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan which needs better management. Pakistan has taken strong measures and has been calling upon Afghanistan to take appropriate steps on its side of border. Our armed forces are conducting operations, it needs to be ensured terrorists do not escape and also that Afghan territory is not used against Pakistan for terrorist attacks.

Question

You just told that Pakistan has taken up this matter of spying of a political party with US. But as regard incident itself, how does Pakistan look at it?

Answer

I have already said that this violates International Law and all norms.

Question

So, what measures have been taken after number of times it has been reported that National Security Agency of the US have been spying to protect our assets, communications and documents in terms of cyber security ?

Answer

Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not the relevant agency to take those steps. We have raised this matter with the US in the past and we would do it again. As far as the specific measures, you may ask the relevant agencies.

Question

There is a report in the Indian media that the Indian Home Ministry prepared a proposal and soon it will be given to Pakistan that each other’s wanted person should be exchanged. If an Indian criminal hiding in Pakistan, so he can be handed back to Indian government and in the same way India will do. So what will be your reaction if this proposal comes from India in coming few days?

Answer

Any proposal that we receive is examined with seriousness. But this is a media report I am not going to speculate on that basis.

Question

What is the stance of Pakistan on the comment of John Kerry that the US made a big mistake in Iraq?

Answer

I will not comment on a comment.

Question

I have two clarifications about the Nuclear Suppliers Group that India is joining and the support that US and Britain are giving to India. My question is that US discriminated against Pakistan when US-India agreement was signed. This matter was approved by IAEA where Pakistan was a member and at that time it did not oppose it. Now, more discrimination is taking place. So do you think that Pakistan will oppose this move at IAEA and other forums?

Answer

Look, it has not reached that stage. The NSG is still considering this matter. Pakistan and India are nuclear states and that is a reality. It would be unrealistic to pretend otherwise. Pakistan is a responsible nuclear State. We have taken the best of measures for safety and security of our nuclear programme and installations.

Our civilian nuclear power plants are under IAEA safeguards. We, on our own, adhere to the guidelines of most multilateral arrangements. Pakistan plays a very constructive role in all the UN bodies including IAEA. Pakistan can play an even more constructive role as a mainstream partner of international the community on equal footing.

Question

Regarding the Zarb-e-Azb, Senator Sehar Kamran raised the issue that overseas Pakistanis are willing to donate for IDPs but there is some issue in the opening of account for them. So can you look into the issue of opening a bank account and marketing it through Embassies?

Answer

Well, our Embassies have contributed to relief fund for temporarily dislocated people. For opening accounts to receive donations and contribution, our missions would require specific instruction. If a decision is taken, I suppose the Ministry of Finance would authorize our missions to open accounts to collect contribution by overseas Pakistanis.

Question

Regarding the IDPs, you just said that they are our nationals and we are taking care of them. There are lot of reports that on check posts women are being harassed and abused, can you look into that issue?

Answer

This is a very peculiar situation. Operation has been launched to root out terrorism. People who have been dislocated temporarily from their homes, they are undergoing this discomfort for all of us. At this time, we need a positive message and strong support. I only see positive stories, how these people are being helped, being offered water and juices at entry points for registration; children being given candies.

Since you confirm that you have not been to the spot where alleged harassment and abuse takes place and that these are rumours, I would request you to verify before transmitting these stories onwards and avoid being part of any smear campaign.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Spokesman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: 051-9205494
Fax: 051-9204202
Cell: 0336-5644459

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